The Tata Consultancy Services chief Natarajan Chandrasekaran, 53, was appointed the new executive chairman of the Tata Sons, the holding company of the $103-billion Tata Group, making him the first non-Parsi and only the third from outside the Tata family to head one of India's oldest corporate houses.
The appointment comes more than two months after the sacking of Mistry, resulting in a boardroom battle that divided the Parsi community itself.
Popularly known as Chandra, the 53-year-old will take charge at the Tata Sons on February 21.The corporate world said the appointment came as no surprise, as Chandrasekaran, along with Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth, was appointed on the board of Tata Sons on October 25, a day Mistry was sacked, making both men frontrunners to succeed him.
A Tata lifer (he joined the company in 1987), Chandrasekaran's appointment was a unanimous decision, the group announced.
A source in the Tata Group said that Chandrasekaran's greatest ability is to find practical solutions to problems others would consider insurmountable.
Born in a Tamil family in Namakkal, Chandrasekaran is married to Lalitha, and the couple has a son, Pranav.
Chandrasekaran completed his Masters in computer application from the Regional Engineering College in Trichy (now called the National Institute of Technology), and last year, was appointed to the Reserve Bank of India's board of directors.
Chandrasekaran also has the distinction of serving as the chairman of NASSCOM, the apex trade body for IT services firm in India (2012-13), and continues to be a member of its government executive council.
Son of a lawyer, Chandrasekaran has five siblings, one of whom is a chief financial officer at the Murugappa Group based in Chennai.Chandrasekaran was groomed by former TCS CEO S Ramadorai for 13 years, and in in 2008 when several names cropped up to lead the TCS, he was appointed on Ramadorai's insistence. Under his leadership, the TCS grew at 24% per annum, and is now India's most valued company with market capitalisation of Rs.4.72 lakh crore, besides the largest private sector employer in the country. The company also contributes almost 70% of dividend income of the Tata Sons.
Before he took over as the global sales head at the TCS, the company's revenues mostly came from the US market. He took the risks and expanded the company's footprints in Europe and South America. He will now be succeeded at the TCS by Rajesh Gopinathan, currently the company's chief financial officer.
Stating that the Tata Group was at an “inflection point“, Chandrasekaran said his aim would be to help progress the conglomerate “with the ethos, ethics and values that the Tata Group has been built on“.